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International Affairs

Laura Thaut Vinson

Assistant Professor of International Affairs


African politics

Ethnic/religious conflict, civil war

Religion and global politics



IA 230: African Politics: Themes in Democracy, Development, & Conflict

IA 362: The Politics of Humanitarian Intervention & Violence

IA 220: The Global South

IA 262: Religion & Global Politics

Professional Experience

I am an Assistant Professor of International Affairs here at Lewis & Clark College (Fall 2017-), and I previously taught in the Political Science Department at Oklahoma State University (2014-2017). I received my PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2013.

My research interests are in the areas of ethnic conflict, the politics of global religious change/resurgence, African politics, and humanitarianism. Courses I teach (or have taught) include African Politics, Religion & Global Politics, The Politics of Humanitarian Intervention & Violence, The Global South, Civil War & Ethnic Conflict, and Comparative Politics.

Prior to teaching at Lewis & Clark College and Oklahoma State University, I was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College (2013-2014). I have also held internships with the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Embassy to Lithuania; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade, Serbia; and Islamic Relief in the UK. From 2005-2006 I received a Fulbright student fellowship to conduct research in Lithuania.


Based on fieldwork in Nigeria, my 2017 book Religion, Violence, and Local Power-Sharing in Nigeria (Cambridge University Press) examines the role of informal, local government power-sharing institutions in shaping whether religious identity becomes a fault line of communal violence. My article “Disaggregating ethnicity and conflict patterns: Evidence from religious and tribal violence in Nigeria” came out recently in Ethnopolitics, and my chapter “Pastoralism, Ethnicity, and Subnational Conflict Resolution in the Middle Belt” is now out in the new Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics (2018).

Currently, I have three peer-reviewed papers forthcoming from collaborate work with Peter Rudloff (Oklahoma State University) that stem from our 2016 survey experiment carried out in Jos, Nigeria. This work looks at how the particular “ethnic” characterization of conflict (e.g., as religious vs. tribal) affects how community members perceive their ethnic counterparts and the root causes of the crises.

My research has been published in the Journal of Peace Research (with Jonas Bunte), Ethnopolitics, Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, International Migration, and four edited volumes: The Oxford Handbook of Nigerian Politics (Carl Levan and Patrick Ukata, eds.), The Credibility of Transnational NGOs (with Michael Barnett and Janice Gross Stein), Religion and Development (with Ajaz Ahmed Khan), and Transforming America (with Carla DePriest).

Academic Credentials

PhD, Political Science, University of Minnesota, 2013

MA, Political Science, University of Minnesota, 2009

BA, Political Science/International Studies, Whitworth University, 2005


Recent book: Religion, Violence, and Local Power-Sharing in Nigeria

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International Affairs


Laura Vinson’s office is located in room 308 of Howard Hall.


voice 503-768-7720

Laura Thaut Vinson Assistant Professor of International Affairs

International Affairs Lewis & Clark 0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road MSC 36 Portland OR 97219 USA